Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Tribe In The Media: Connecticut Sun Basketball Team Leaves Star Player Off Roster

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This installment of The Tribe In The Media is a New Britain Heraldarticle on the player status of the Tribe's WNBA basketball team. The Tribe does not give Feather News the same media access as it does to non-Indian media outlets so we have to rely on an outside website for coverage of the team on the Reservation.

Sales Likely Done With Connecticut Sun
By Jim Fuller
Journal Register News Service
Friday, November 14, 2008

The divorce is not yet final, but it is safe to say that Nykesha Sales has played her last game with the Connecticut Sun.

Sales and the Sun left open the possibility that the six-time WNBA all-star could return after sitting out last season. But when the Sun gave out an updated “Connecticut Sun player status” to the media at a luncheon at the Mohegan Sun Arena, Sales’ name was nowhere to be found.

“We have moved on. There was some avenue where we would retain her rights and she would sign with us the next period,” Connecticut Sun coach Mike Thibault said. “Obviously, that has not happened. We have moved on to our younger players. I don’t even know if she wants to play. I haven’t talked to her in several months.

“She is not playing overseas right now. At some point when she officially decides to end her career, we would love to honor her here and do something special. But that is still her decision, if she wants to play. If she asked about coming back and wanting to play, we would have to have a discussion. Our younger players have played well and are getting better. They have earned the right to be the future of this franchise.”

The Sun have signed three of its five rookies from the 2008 season. Sandrine Gruda, Amber Holt and Ketia Swanier are under contract as are veterans Asjha Jones, Tamika Whitmore, Lindsay Whalen and Erin Phillips. The Sun own the rights to Barbara Turner, Kerri Gardin, Danielle Page, Evanthia Maltsi and Lauren Ervin, a third-round pick in the 2007 draft who is the only one not to have played for the Sun.

Connecticut has from Dec. 1-14 to make a qualifying offer to them or lose the rights. Jamie Carey is a restricted free agent, and Tamika Raymond and Svetlana Abrosimova are unrestricted free agents.

On Dec. 15, WNBA teams can begin talking to free agents while the free agent signing period begins Jan. 5.

Sales was at UConn’s practice on Friday, but she did not want to be interviewed.

“I’m not really sure what I am going to do,” Sales said.

More should be known on Sunday as Sales is expected to be on hand when the 1994-95 UConn national championship team is inducted into the “Hall of Honor” at halftime of the Huskies’ season opener against Georgia Tech.

Sales said she may speak more about her future on Sunday.

WNBA training camps are expected to start on May 17. The season will kick off on June 6.